• Dom Whit

Sneak Peek is here! Chapter 1 Secrets Kill...

Chapter 1 of Secrets Kill!



Hey guys, so just as a preliminary heads up: This is an unedited, really rough first chapter of Secrets Kill. The names are likely to change, and I may decide to add more (in other words this may become just the first scene, etc) so don't come after me if you spot changes from how it ends up


That said, here you go!


Kate

“On the count of murder in the first degree, we the jury find the defendants not guilty.”

In the brief moment of absolute silence, my heart dropped to my stomach.

It wasn’t possible.

The amount of evidence we’d collected was overwhelming—the district attorney had been so confident he’d charged them all together. Their DNA was all over her battered, burnt, and bloody body.

My sister…

I still hadn’t been able to wrap my head around it. I knew I was adopted, but finding out I had a sister who lived so close by, this entire time—

Would things have been different, if we had met? I wonder…

At that moment, the crowd reacted to the verdict, and the deafening noise rose like an ocean wave. Behind me, wails of horror and despair as courtroom guests reacted. The few friends my unknown sister had, if I were to guess.

Seated in one of the middle rows, I was surrounded by my friends from the Miami-Dade police department and Crime Scene Investigation Unit. As a show of support, perhaps seeing how affected I was by this particular case (and given the victim) they’d all volunteered to attend with me, and stayed even after we’d given our testimony.

Before us, the hordes of wealthy Miami elites cheered, rising in their perfumed clouds and pressing forward to congratulate the murderers on getting away with their horrific crime. They beamed, celebrating with the army of lawyers while the district attorney stared in shock at the retreating jury.

Ian, my fellow CSI, squeezed my hand tightly. I felt the pressure, but my body swiftly grew numb as the sound faded in my ears. I could see everyone was still there, exclaiming in either triumph or misery; I just couldn’t hear it.

It was if my ears filled with cotton, and the only sound I could hear was my rapidly elevating heart rate.

BOOM. BOOM BOOM. BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM.

I glanced to my left, aware of the tension rolling off Justin, the lead detective on the case beside me. His entire body was tight, jaw tensed, hands fisted on his legs as if he were actively fighting the desire to rip the murderers to pieces with his own hands.

How did this go so horribly wrong?

It was practically an open and shut case. She had been booked as an escort for a ‘private party’ along with several other girls. They all converged on a ritzy hotel room with the defendants, where they apparently had one hell of a party and the girls left together in the wee hours of the morning. The other girls confirmed it had been a typical party.

And that one girl who went by the name Celeste had stayed behind, lingering at the elevator to talk to one of the men.

The next day, an early morning beachcomber found her body dumped from the side of the Macarthur Causeway like trash. No attempt to conceal her, unless they thought they were dumping her into the water.

They’d made a half-hearted attempt to replace her clothing, although there wasn’t much left. Her clothes, purse, even her shoes were all there. Every single article was covered in blood.

Her blood.

Walking up to that crime scene had been just another job. Another scene to process, another sad, powerless victim for whom I would become their voice, their vengeance, their justice. I would collect all the evidence, point the detective toward the perpetrator, and provide whatever he needed to nail the sick bastard who did this.

I started processing the area, taking photos of the awkwardly positioned body. The first responding officers had already taped off the crime scene, and marked certain items: A single, blood-spattered silver high-heeled shoe. A sparkly clam-shaped purse with a broken gold chain.

The girl’s body was on its side, arms and legs at awkward angles like a doll that had been carelessly tossed out a window. Long, bleach-blonde hair, soaked in a fair amount of blood, draped across the face. The surf had come in, partially wetting the body where it lay across a tangled nest of mangrove roots below the bridge. Traffic zoomed past overhead, almost deafening in the morning rush hour, and I methodically shot photo after photo to document everything before we began collecting evidence.

It wasn’t until I picked up the purse that my world crashed around me. I snapped open the pearl clasp and pulled out the contents, hoping her driver’s license was here so we wouldn’t struggle to identify the victim. From the bruises, cuts, and burns on her tanned skin, I could only conclude she had sustained a fair amount of damage to her face as well. I was in no hurry to see what the bastard had done there—I already felt sick to my stomach imagining what this poor girl had gone through.

At first I was relieved—the purse was clean inside, with a few small makeup items and a pristine ivory wallet. Calling to the detective, I fished the driver’s license from the wallet and snapped a photo, preparing to hand it over.

And that’s when I froze. My breath stilled in my lungs, and I went absolutely motionless.

I didn’t recognize the name. All the lettering on the ID was irrelevant; my vision was locked on the image. The wide, ultra-white smile, sparkling eyes in a shocking aquamarine color, the distinctive nose with a ball tip—it was me. My face. My smile, my eyes, my nose. The only difference was the glamorous blonde hair with thick bangs—my hair was a non-descript brown and I kept it all one length, just long enough to make a ponytail with minimal fuss.

“You got an ID?” Justin, the lead detective, asked. “Great, that will make my life easier. Who is she?”

I just kept staring at the picture—I couldn’t wrap my mind around it.

When I didn’t respond, Justin stepped to the side and peered over my shoulder.

“Oh, damn, Kate, she looks just like you. What are the odds? I read that we all have doppelgängers in the world somewhere, how strange you would both be in Miami, huh?”

When I still didn’t respond, he hesitated. “Kate, you don’t… know this person, do you?”

Somehow I found the ability to move again, and sucked in a breath, raising my eyes to his.

“No, I don’t know her. But Justin… I was adopted, a closed adoption. I don’t know anything about my birth parents. For all I know, we could be related. She’s…” I glanced down at the card I my hand, “three years younger than me. She could be my sister.” Once again, my eyes were stuck to the image of this woman who appeared so uncannily like me.

Justin’s voice dropped, his tone deepened and he spoke in a low, urgent whisper. “Kate, do you want to get removed from this case?”

A jolt of fear went through me, and I shook my head at him with wide eyes. “Of course not,” I hissed. “I need to know what happened, I need to find out who she is. You can’t expect me to step down!”

“Then don’t say anything to anyone about this possible relation. We’ll treat it like it’s a crazy coincidence if anyone brings it up. You’ll have plenty of time later to dig into her past, but for now this stays between us. Understood?” His dark brown eyes, nearly black, were deadly serious. Justin was a well-practiced flirt, able to turn on the charm just by batting those full lashes and raising a well-groomed eyebrow.

However, he was also capable of being incredibly serious, even intimidating, when he wanted to be. I’d seen him use that strength on a suspect, and it was that powerful energy he turned on me now.

I nodded back at him in agreement, and he gently pulled the ID card and purse from my grasp. Speaking in a lighter tone, he asked, “Did you get all the photos you need of the contents?”

I cleared my throat. “Yeah, I was just going to start on some more closeups of the v-victim.”

”Okay. You good?” He leveled that serious gaze at me one more time, and I nodded, lifting my camera.

“Yep, I’m good.”

“Then let’s do our job, and nail this sonofabitch, Kate.”


So what do you think? drop me a comment


Ready to pre-order? Do that here: books2read.com/Secrets-Kill

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